Portis Shows There's Plenty of Life in Him Yet

By Mike Wise
Monday, November 5, 2007

Everybody's favorite Redskin to pick on all week lowered his head and shoulder, churned his legs forward and, with the help of a sure-footed kid from Canada, won a must-win game. Clinton Portis slung his team over his shoulder. Just like he said he would.

"I am going to carry 'em," Portis said Thursday, the confidence tumbling out after a long talk with Coach Joe Gibbs on the practice field. "I know it's on me to carry 'em. So, I'm ready for that role and that position."

One-hundred-ninety-six yards on 36 carries, the fifth-most yards by a running back in team history.

A go-ahead, leap over the goal line in the fourth quarter, one of 108 second-half yards.

Six rugged carries and 37 yards in overtime, which set up Shaun Suisham's scintillating game-winning field goal.

C.P. is ready? He's ready.

Is it too much to ask his harshest detractors to just hush their mouths for one week? It's the least they can do after forecasting Portis's demise the past month and a half.

Portis won a game the Redskins had to win at the Meadowlands to keep faith alive at the halfway point of the season. He did it at the end of a week in which his effectiveness and importance to the team were severely questioned.

He's done. That's all that could be heard. Running backs have short shelf-lives in the NFL. Clinton Portis is an old 26. He can't break off the big runs like he used to.

Heading into Sunday's game against the Jets, the fashionable theme was to point out how well the Redskins ran the ball with Ladell Betts a year ago, how nicked-up and bruised Portis was, how his days as a big-time back were numbered.

Even Joe Bugel put the blame on his offensive line, but no one wanted to listen to Buges's solid logic regarding Portis when he said: "Two years ago he was a 1,500-yard back, so you don't want to throw him under the bus. We gotta block better, that's the bottom line."

When that happened, when Chris Samuels and Pete Kendall and Casey Rabach and their teammates moved their counterparts off the ball, Portis suddenly looked young and spry again. He had room to move and cut. It's no wonder Portis was one of several players who spoke up at a meeting among offensive players and coaches last Monday after the debacle in New England.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2007 The Washington Post Company